Day 33, Friday, August 17, 2018
My two days in Lexington were spent at the Boonesboro State Park. It is a nice wooded park in the tent camping area, with plenty of space between sites. The bathrooms were large and clean too! The one thing that the park could not control though, was the rain! My second night there, it poured. All. Night. Long. Everything that I left outside got muddy, and had to be washed off. My tennis shoes were soaked! I was really glad that I was snuggled in warm and dry in my car bed that night!
After I wiped down my stuff, packed up and gave my shoes a good wash in the campground shower, I headed out for the day. I was in the land of Kentucky Bourbon, so I figured that I needed to do some sampling! Keep in mind that I’m not a Bourbon drinker, so I decided on a distillery that had some history.
Buffalo Trace claims to be the oldest continually operating distillery in Kentucky. They say that they have been distilling on this site since 1786, which is the same year that Hancock Lee received the title to this land at what was then known as Lee’s Town. A commercial distillery has certainly been operating here since 1858!
Ready to taste whiskey!
A lightning strike in 1882 burned the distillery, but it was quickly rebuilt using the insurance money (and then some), and kept right on going. During Prohibition, the distillery got a license to make medicinal liquor, and was able to continue operations when many distilleries shut down. Today Buffalo Trace Distillery makes a number of whiskey brands, including, Buffalo Trace, Blanton’s, Eagle Rare, Sazerac, Stagg, Wheatley Vodka, and others.
Tours are free and include a tasting at the end, if you are over 21 of course! Ashley was the docent for my tour; she was fun and had a good sense of humor. The tour began with a nicely done video about the history of Buffalo Trace and the distilling process. Then we got to see the aging warehouses, and the bottling line – the day I was there, they were hand-labeling bottles of a limited edition Blanton’s whiskey that was being shipped overseas to Poland of all places!
I love this building!
Artsy photo of the grounds
Look how much evaporates in 18 years!
Then the tasting! Each person got to choose two samples, and got a dessert sample if you wanted it. I chose the Buffalo Trace and the Eagle Rare – I figured I was at a whiskey distillery so I should pick whiskey’s instead of the vodka! I think you could choose the White Dog Mash too, but considering I thought mash was a byproduct and not a liquor, it was not my pick…
My assessment: The Eagle Rare was smoother and easier to drink. Both were better with water. Neither were a drink that I would voluntarily choose… The Bourbon Cream dessert liquor was good though! It went quite nicely with root beer! If I had to choose, that’s what I would have come home with, but I didn’t buy any.
What did I leave with, you ask? Blanton’s bottle toppers! Yes, Blanton’s has a signature bottle topper; a race horse, and there are seven different styles to collect. And here at the distillery you can collect the bottle toppers for $3.50 apiece instead of shelling out $65 for a bottle of Bourbon! They also had adorable Blanton’s mini-bottles (sans booze) (also $3.50) with adorable mini race horse toppers! Yes, it’s ok, I’m a nerd and I know it, but I was so excited!
After my tasting, I headed to the onsite sandwich shop, The Fire House, and ordered a pulled pork sandwich with sweet BBQ sauce and potato salad. So good! It was nice sitting outside in the warm sunshine, now that the rain had gone.
I had a great sandwich here!
Pulled pork and potato salad
That night I made my way to Cincinnati for an overnight stop and since there aren’t that many campgrounds in or near Cincinnati, I had a rare night in a hotel. I did my laundry, and watched TV! It was a nice break from camping!